The Council of the Kipling Society recognises that Rudyard Kipling, in common with many other writers of his time, used certain derogatory terms to describe members of different racial groups which would not be considered appropriate for use in most contexts today.
After due consideration, we have adopted the following policy with regard to such terminology:
- Where Kipling’s works or extracts from them appear on our website, we do not in general edit out or mask any such words, considering that it is our role to provide an accessible source of Kipling’s poems and stories as he wrote them.
- We do, however, include a prominent warning at the beginning of each of Kipling’s work which contains the ‘n-word’; ‘The Kipling Society presents here Kipling’s work as he wrote it, but wishes to alert readers that the text below contains some derogatory and/or offensive language’.
- We also include this more general warning on our home page, ‘Some of Kipling’s works contains words or express views relating to race, gender or other matters which today are generally considered to be unacceptable’.
- In the accompanying commentaries on our website, we explain the context in which Kipling was using the ‘n-word’ and that it is a highly offensive term.
- We have not edited past editions of The Kipling Journal, which are available as searchable pdfs on our website, to remove the ‘n-word’, whether in Kipling’s works, the works of other authors or in contributors’ commentaries.
- For those works which we specifically promote as being suitable for children, we follow the practice of recent publishers of editing out the ‘n-word’. We do not explain in the commentary what we have done (as this might lead to awkward questions to parents or teachers), although we do include the general statement ‘This story has been edited to remove some offensive wording, as we specifically recommend it for young people’.